RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Shannon Marshall 804-371-6844
shannon.marshall@vdot.virginia.gov

CO-1002

Jan. 12, 2010



VDOT SIGNS INTERIM AGREEMENT WITH PRIVATE FIRM TO DEVELOP AND OPERATE THE DOWNTOWN TUNNEL/MIDTOWN TUNNEL/MLK EXTENSION
Project will produce benefits including an additional Midtown Tunnel tube, reduced congestion and improved travel times and safety

RICHMOND - Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner David S. Ekern recently signed the interim agreement that advances a private-sector proposal to develop and/or operate the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/Martin Luther King Extension Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) Project. The interim agreement with Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC (ERC), a Delaware Limited Liability Company, will advance the required preliminary work on the project.

The project improvements call for the design and construction of a parallel Midtown Tunnel, extension of the MLK Freeway between Interstate 264 and London Boulevard and improvements to the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels.

“This is a critical first step as VDOT looks to find creative ways to address needed capacity improvements with the realities of VDOT’s budget constraints,” said Ekern. “In addition to adding a new tunnel capacity, this project will also continue required maintenance of our existing tunnels between the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth and construct a limited-access network between the two tunnels and I-264. These improvements are critical for the Hampton Roads region.”

The interim agreement will be implemented in two phases. Phase one requires ERC to complete a project feasibility assessment to determine if the project is economically viable and will help to structure toll rates that will manage congestion. In phase two, ERC will complete preliminary engineering work and cost estimates to support the execution of a comprehensive agreement for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the project.   

“ERC has assembled a world class development and construction team to work in partnership with VDOT and the community to deliver a long-needed project that will improve the life quality of residents and commuters, and serve as a catalyst for economic growth,” said Karl Reichelt, Executive Vice President of Skanska Infrastructure Development, co-developer of ERC. "We are committed to moving this significant project forward quickly, economically and responsibly."

For more information on the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/Martin Luther King Extension PPTA Project, visit http://midtowntunnel.org.

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